Much action has been taken in the last ten years to prevent and mitigate HIV infection in times of conflict, yet two fundamental questions remain unanswered: Does conflict always and everywhere increase vulnerability to HIV infection, and are women and girls always disproportionately affected? This paper considers the ways in which conflict, gender inequality and HIV prevalence and infection rates may or may not be connected; its intention is to map key areas for a research agenda addressing issues of HIV/AIDS, gender and conflict. Consideration is also given to how HIV prevention and mitigation activities in times of conflict, transition, and the post-conflict reconstruction and development phase might best serve vulnerable populations. In the worst instance, failure to achieve some consensus on the best way forward might contribute to reduced attention by the international community and donors to civilian populations' vulnerability to HIV infection during times of conflict.
Keywords: complex political emergency, gender, HIV prevalence
African Journal of AIDS Research 2006, 5(1): 41–48